All Hail The Arranger?

James Joyce is dead. The mischievous Arranger lives.

In 2009, ever more epic feats of creativity will be determined by the Arranger. Not a single mind scripting, drawing, sculpting, painting. But allowing things to happen. Then ordering them.

What the hell am I talking about? Here comes the three-way…

1. Mobilise

Fifty People, One Question: London by Crush + Lovely on Vimeo.

One kind of Arranger starts by mobilising. E.g. ask a single question to 50 people. Record what happens and arrange it. This is close to a notion of the meme but retains editorial control.

Think Sleeveface. Or even the new Saatchi & Saatchi spot for T-Mobile.

2. Scavenge


“One (Two, Three, Four)” by Kunst & Teknik and Martin Ström, 2009.

The Scavenger Arranger does a similar thing in reverse. He/ she is more of an archivist. It’s a retrospective arrangement.

You have an idea then set out to aggregate the material. Here Kunst & Teknik and Martin Ström found four different videos of kids playing Metallica on YouTube. Then they arranged and syncopated.

In adland, the Nokia Comes With Music campaign is a prime example. Idea first – track names spell out a message – then find the track names to achieve it.

3. Anatomise

Little Girl Loves Aphex Twin by IDMWEIGHTSIDM on YouTube.

The microscopic approach. The Anatomist Arranger will take a single passage in time, or a single event, then pull it apart. There’s an obvious analogy with remixing.

No new content is initiated or created. But the existing material re-spliced. Collagists like Cutup Collective fit this mould. And in some ways, it’s where those 1920s modernists – and Dadaists – began.

Is the Creative dead? Should we all hail the Arranger?

Update #1:

Iain at Crackunit has written at an extensive post on ‘mass collaboration’ advertising. Follow the debate on ‘Life Is For Connectedly Sharing Better.’

Update #2:

Read a section in Wikinomics last night that sums up this phenomenon far better than I did:

“… we are moving from the concept of emergence as a consequence of raw self-organization – the idea that the independent agents acting together unwittingly create some new thing (so-called “order for free”) – to a recognition that self-organization can also be encouraged and even orchestrated…” (p.44)

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